Saturday, July 07, 2007

Nebraska Supreme Court (J Miller-Lerman) reverses doctor's verdict against Norfolk Faith Regional Hospital for over $1.3 million because the court instructed the jury that the doctor was an employee of the Hospital rather than an independent contractor. Domjan v. Faith Regional Health Servs., S-05-1463, 273 Neb. 877. The court instructed the jury that the parties were in an employment relationship and further that termination was only for good cause rather than cause. The court suggested that the instruction's suggestion that the doctor was an employee and not a contractor probably swayed the jury to the doctor's favor. Further the jury instruction used the term good cause, one for employment relationships rather than "cause" from the contractor agreement, further misleading the jury. Employment good cause is the standard for a reasonable employer to dismiss and employee while contractual cause is material breach or light of the actual custom of persons in the performance of contracts similar to the one involved in the specific case.” Phipps v. Skyview Farms, 259 Neb. 492, 499, 610 N.W.2d 723,730-31 (2000). Reversed for a new trial

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